Evaluating the Association of Face Covering Mandates on COVID-19 Severity by State

Mark A. Strand, Omobosinuola Shyllon, Adam Hohman, Rick J. Jansen, Savita Sidhu, Stephen McDonough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: During the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, mitigation measures were implemented on a state-by-state basis. Governors were responsible for establishing interventions appropriate for their states and the timing of implementation. This paper evaluated the association between the presence and timing of a mask mandate and the severity of the COVID-19 epidemic by state. Methods: The states were divided into 3 categories based on when the governors of each state implemented a mask mandate: Early (mask mandate implemented between March 2020 and June 2020), Late (July 2020-December 2020), and Never (no mask mandate implemented). The rates of hospitalizations and mortality (per 100 000) were assessed at the different time points during the pandemic across these categories from March to December 2020. Results: The mortality rates across all 3 groups were observed to be highest in the beginning and toward the end of the pandemic in 2020 with the peak observed in the Early group between April and May 2020. Also, the rates of hospitalization increased steadily across all groups. The Early mask group was comprised of 86.7% and 13.3% states with Democratic and Republican governors respectively, and no states in the Never category had Democratic governors. Conclusion: These results support the benefit of implementing a mask mandate to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of political affiliation of governors on that impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • COVID-19
  • face masks
  • pandemic preparedness
  • policy
  • public health


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